What Are The Differences Between All These Rice Cookers?
Although all of these models cook rice, there are still quite a few differences between them.
Most of them have one-year warranties and very few color options compared to other home appliances, so customization options are lower than in other kitchen machines. They all have components that can be removed from the cooking base and put through the dishwasher (aside from one unit) for easy clean-up, and they all have keep-warm settings that mean your rice won’t get cold if you take a little long getting to it after it’s finished cooking. They all have some accessories included – usually measuring cups and steaming baskets, which allow each model to steam other food while the rice is cooking.
However, that’s about where the similarities end. Within this line-up, there’s a range of different specs to choose from. Some models have much larger capacities than other – the Hamilton Beach model holds 14 cups of rice, for instance, while the Oster only holds six. Some of these models are stainless steel while others are plastic. Some have delay timers, so you can set up the rice cooker and have it start cooking just before you need it. And some have different functions that allow you to cook all sorts of things, especially the two pressure cookers, which allow you to cook all sorts of things apart from rice – including baking cakes!
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What Are Your Priorities?
Do you live alone, or do you have a family of six? Do you eat a lot of rice or only irregularly? Are you planning on eating leftovers? Do you want to be able to make soups and stews? Do you want to make porridge in it? Are you having big dinner parties? Do you work a lot? How important is it that you come home to a meal that’s already made? Do you want an Asian rice cooker that can do every type of rice to perfection?
All of these questions will help you figure out exactly what kind of rice cooker you want. Smaller models are ideal for people who eat little rice or aren’t cooking for a crowd; larger-capacity models are for people with big families, big appetites, or who love leftovers. Get a model with a delay timer if you want to walk through the door to find your rice already cooked and ready to go. Go for something with functions if you want your oatmeal to be ready when you wake up each morning, or you want to make stews.
It’s up to you what kind of rice cooker you want – luckily, there’s a whole lot to choose from here.
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- Keeps food warm for up to 24 hours
- Cooks other grains as well as rice
- All stainless steel
- Three dimensional heating base
- Good for both small and large households
The Fuzzy Logic Pre-Programmed Rice Cooker is one of two of Panasonic’s Fuzzy Logic range on this list, and it’s also our top pick from the Panasonic range. The Fuzzy Logic models are named for the Fuzzy Logic technology, which is claimed by Panasonic to automatically adjust the power and cooking time during the cooking process to ensure that the rice comes out perfectly every time – a massive benefit, especially when cooking an uncommon grain (which is also possible with this machine).
This model comes with an 8-cup container, which is roughly eight servings of rice – so plenty for an average family. It has a keep-warm setting and a delay timer, so you can time your rice perfectly for whatever you’re making. It also has a steaming basket, so you can make other components to your meal at the same time.
Some things more specific to this model are its digital display, which shows just how long there is to go in the cooking process so you can time it expertly. There’s a domed lid to prevent moisture that’s evaporated from dripping back down into the rice and making it mushy, and this lid has a nice push-button release that clicks it into place.
It also has eight different functions to choose from: white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, quick cook, porridge, cake, slow cook, and steam. These functions make it way easier to use your device for different grains – instead of hoping for the best when using your rice cooker to make oatmeal, quinoa, or sushi rice, you know that it’ll come out just right without you having to do anything at all.The slow cook function is also very cool, because it means that to some extent your rice cooker can double as a slow cooker – you don’t need to have both. The cake function is shared by very few other models, but it’s also a great addition, because it means you can cook a cake perfectly in the perfect size, and collect it when the beeper goes off – no more checking the oven to make sure it’s done.
This is an excellent rice cooker, and definitely one of the best on the market. It has a great capacity, excellent functions, the ability to steam food while the rice is cooking, and an easy-to-use interface complete with digital display. If you want a machine that can double as a slow cooker and, to some extent, an oven, this is an excellent pick that’s sure to save you tons of time.
The Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker is one of the best models on the list for a couple of reasons. It’s got the biggest capacity, at 14 cups of cooked rice, which is useful for if you’re cooking for a family or want the option to have leftover food for the next day - for this vegan fried rice, for example. Of course, you can use much less than that, which gives it the same usability as smaller models, but if you’re interested in making a lot of rice all at once, you can.
It has a delay timer, a keep-warm function, removable and dishwasher-safe components (found from the manufacturer’s website here), and a steaming basket. This model comes with a few standard accessories: a steamer, a measuring cup, and a rice paddle for stirring.
This machine has the second-most functions in this line-up: white rice, quick rice, whole grains, heat/simmer, steam cook, and hot cereals. It’s good for any sort of grain you’d like to put into it, which makes it a massively versatile machine and means you don’t need to invest in a bunch of different devices to do the same things. This is an ideal machine for if you’d like your rice cooker to act with some of the features of a slow-cooker, in terms of the heat/simmer function, and if you’d like a large capacity model for plenty of rice.